The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 49r - the stork, continued.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

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It is not part of the project to provide a definitive edition of the text of the Bestiary, but to help readers by providing a transcription and translation of the text. Currently the following editorial conventions obtain:

Text

  1. The original capitalisation is retained, but capitals have been added for personal and place names, excluding deus and diabolus.
  2. The original punctuation, including a point and inverted semi-colon (both serving as commas), and a point (serving as a full stop), is represented by comma, full stop and question-mark; a colon has been inserted before quotations.
  3. Suggested readings are in [ ].
  4. Variants from other Bestiary texts (eg Ashmole 1511 and Patrologia Latina 176) are added where they indicate a corruption, elucidate a meaning and replace excised text. They are represented as [A: PL:]

Translation

  1. Direct quotations from the Bible, where identified, are cited from the Authorised Version in ( ).
  2. Paraphrased quotations are identified where possible and indicated as: (see Job, 18:22).
  3. Suggested translations of corrupt words are in [ ].
  4. Capitalisation is sparing; additional punctuation has been used where necessary to give the sense. Paragraphs have been created to break up the text.
they are the enemies of snakes; they fly across the sea, making their way in flocks to Asia. Crows go in front of them as their guides, the storks following them as if in an army. Storks possess a strong sense of duty towards their young. They are so keen to keep their nests warm that their feathers fall out as a result of the constant incubation. But their young spend as much time caring for them when they grow old, as they spend caring for their young. Storks make a sound by clashing their bills. They represent those who 'with weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew, 8:12) proclaim from their own mouths the evil they have done. Storks herald the spring, like those who demonstrate to others the moderation of a mind that has undergone conversion. They have a sense of community like those who live willingly in the community of their brothers. It is said also that the stork is the enemy of snakes. Snakes are evil thoughts or evil brothers; the stork strikes snakes with its bill, as the righteous check evil thoughts or reprimand their wicked brothers with penetrating rebukes. Storks fly across the sea and make their way in flocks to Asia. Asia signifies heavenly things. Those people also fly across the sea to Asia, therefore, who, scorning the commotions of the world, aim for higher things. Storks are are notably devoted to their young, with the result that their feathers fall out from constant incubation. Storks lose their feathers from the constant incubation of their young in the same way that prelates, when they nourish those in their charge, pluck out from their own bodies the feathers of excess and weakness. Young storks spend as much time caring for their parents as their parents spent on rearing them. Storks must nourish their young in proportion to their need, in the same way that

Text

Storks eat snakes.

Illustration

Two recognisable storks in a roundel. One is eating a frog, not the snake mentioned in the text and the other may be snapping its beak together.

Comment

Although the stork is only recorded once in the middle ages as a visitor to Britain, the Aberdeen artist has created a remarkably accurate portrait of the bird (and the frog). The original source for the illustration must have been made on the Continent by someone who had observed storks. There is a quire mark ('h') at the bottom centre of the page.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

Transcription

serpentis hostes, maria transvolant, in Asiam collecto\ agmine pergunt. Cornices\ duces precedunt, et ipse quasi\ exercitus prosequuntur. Eximia\ illis circa filios pietas. Nam\ adeo nidos impensius fo\ vent, ut assiduo incubitu\ plumas exuant. Quantum\ autem tempus impende\ rint in fetibus educandis,\ tantum et ipse invicem a pul\ lis suis aluntur. Ciconie\ sonum oris pro voce quatiente rostro flaciunt [PL,faciunt]. Illos autem\ pretendunt qui cum fletu et stridore dentium quod male\ gesserunt ore promunt. Hee sunt nuntie veris, quia ceteris\ demonstrant temperantiam converse mentis. Societatis sunt\ comites, quia libenter habitant inter fratres. Dicitur etiam de ciconia\ quod serpentium sit inimica. Serpentes sunt perverse cogitatio\ nes, seu perversi fratres, quos ciconia rostro percutit, dum iustus\ pravas cogitationes restringit, vel perversos fratres perungenti [PL, pungenti]\ invectione reprehendit. Maria transvolant, in Asiam collec\ to agmine pergunt. Asia interpretatur elevata. Maria igitur transvo\ lat et Asiam pergit, qui spretis mundi tumultibus ad altio\ ra tendit. Eximia illis circa filios pietas ut assiduo incu\ bitu super eos exuant plumas. Assiduo incubitu sup[er] pul\ los ciconie plumas exuunt, quia dum prelati subiectos nutri\ unt, superfluitatis et levitatis a se plumas evellunt. Quantum\ autem tempus impenderint in fetibus educandis, tantum et ipse\ invicem a pullis suis aluntur. Quantum pulli eorum indigent\ tamdiu ciconie eos nutrire debent, quia in quantum indigent

Translation

they are the enemies of snakes; they fly across the sea, making their way in flocks to Asia. Crows go in front of them as their guides, the storks following them as if in an army. Storks possess a strong sense of duty towards their young. They are so keen to keep their nests warm that their feathers fall out as a result of the constant incubation. But their young spend as much time caring for them when they grow old, as they spend caring for their young. Storks make a sound by clashing their bills. They represent those who 'with weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew, 8:12) proclaim from their own mouths the evil they have done. Storks herald the spring, like those who demonstrate to others the moderation of a mind that has undergone conversion. They have a sense of community like those who live willingly in the community of their brothers. It is said also that the stork is the enemy of snakes. Snakes are evil thoughts or evil brothers; the stork strikes snakes with its bill, as the righteous check evil thoughts or reprimand their wicked brothers with penetrating rebukes. Storks fly across the sea and make their way in flocks to Asia. Asia signifies heavenly things. Those people also fly across the sea to Asia, therefore, who, scorning the commotions of the world, aim for higher things. Storks are are notably devoted to their young, with the result that their feathers fall out from constant incubation. Storks lose their feathers from the constant incubation of their young in the same way that prelates, when they nourish those in their charge, pluck out from their own bodies the feathers of excess and weakness. Young storks spend as much time caring for their parents as their parents spent on rearing them. Storks must nourish their young in proportion to their need, in the same way that
  • Commentary

    Text

    Storks eat snakes.

    Illustration

    Two recognisable storks in a roundel. One is eating a frog, not the snake mentioned in the text and the other may be snapping its beak together.

    Comment

    Although the stork is only recorded once in the middle ages as a visitor to Britain, the Aberdeen artist has created a remarkably accurate portrait of the bird (and the frog). The original source for the illustration must have been made on the Continent by someone who had observed storks. There is a quire mark ('h') at the bottom centre of the page.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Translation
    they are the enemies of snakes; they fly across the sea, making their way in flocks to Asia. Crows go in front of them as their guides, the storks following them as if in an army. Storks possess a strong sense of duty towards their young. They are so keen to keep their nests warm that their feathers fall out as a result of the constant incubation. But their young spend as much time caring for them when they grow old, as they spend caring for their young. Storks make a sound by clashing their bills. They represent those who 'with weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew, 8:12) proclaim from their own mouths the evil they have done. Storks herald the spring, like those who demonstrate to others the moderation of a mind that has undergone conversion. They have a sense of community like those who live willingly in the community of their brothers. It is said also that the stork is the enemy of snakes. Snakes are evil thoughts or evil brothers; the stork strikes snakes with its bill, as the righteous check evil thoughts or reprimand their wicked brothers with penetrating rebukes. Storks fly across the sea and make their way in flocks to Asia. Asia signifies heavenly things. Those people also fly across the sea to Asia, therefore, who, scorning the commotions of the world, aim for higher things. Storks are are notably devoted to their young, with the result that their feathers fall out from constant incubation. Storks lose their feathers from the constant incubation of their young in the same way that prelates, when they nourish those in their charge, pluck out from their own bodies the feathers of excess and weakness. Young storks spend as much time caring for their parents as their parents spent on rearing them. Storks must nourish their young in proportion to their need, in the same way that
  • Transcription
    serpentis hostes, maria transvolant, in Asiam collecto\ agmine pergunt. Cornices\ duces precedunt, et ipse quasi\ exercitus prosequuntur. Eximia\ illis circa filios pietas. Nam\ adeo nidos impensius fo\ vent, ut assiduo incubitu\ plumas exuant. Quantum\ autem tempus impende\ rint in fetibus educandis,\ tantum et ipse invicem a pul\ lis suis aluntur. Ciconie\ sonum oris pro voce quatiente rostro flaciunt [PL,faciunt]. Illos autem\ pretendunt qui cum fletu et stridore dentium quod male\ gesserunt ore promunt. Hee sunt nuntie veris, quia ceteris\ demonstrant temperantiam converse mentis. Societatis sunt\ comites, quia libenter habitant inter fratres. Dicitur etiam de ciconia\ quod serpentium sit inimica. Serpentes sunt perverse cogitatio\ nes, seu perversi fratres, quos ciconia rostro percutit, dum iustus\ pravas cogitationes restringit, vel perversos fratres perungenti [PL, pungenti]\ invectione reprehendit. Maria transvolant, in Asiam collec\ to agmine pergunt. Asia interpretatur elevata. Maria igitur transvo\ lat et Asiam pergit, qui spretis mundi tumultibus ad altio\ ra tendit. Eximia illis circa filios pietas ut assiduo incu\ bitu super eos exuant plumas. Assiduo incubitu sup[er] pul\ los ciconie plumas exuunt, quia dum prelati subiectos nutri\ unt, superfluitatis et levitatis a se plumas evellunt. Quantum\ autem tempus impenderint in fetibus educandis, tantum et ipse\ invicem a pullis suis aluntur. Quantum pulli eorum indigent\ tamdiu ciconie eos nutrire debent, quia in quantum indigent
Folio 49r - the stork, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen